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Cockroach found in Osprey Cafe chips by student was an “isolated incident,” UNF dining manager says

After an unidentified University of North Florida student posted to a public Snapchat story that they’d found a cockroach in the Osprey Cafe chips earlier this week, dining officials told Spinnaker on Thursday the insect’s discovery wasn’t cause for concern.

Chris Simonton, director of resident dining, said that it was a palmetto bug and “not a roach.” However, Dr. Anthony Rossi, a UNF professor researching plant-insect interactions, including entomology, wrote that it “would appear to be a cockroach” in an email to Spinnaker.

Though the professor couldn’t be completely sure from the picture, Rossi said it was either an American roach, brown roach or Australian roach. Palmetto bug is an umbrella term for several species of cockroaches, usually found in warm and humid regions like Florida. 

This photo was posted to the University of North Florida Snapchat story, accessible by any students who connected their university email to the social media platform. (The photo has been cropped to remove the poster’s username)

Dining officials confirmed that the bug was found in the chips Sunday evening, reported by a student taking a to-go box. To ensure food safety, the entire chip bin was thrown out, Resident District Manager Joe Lachina emphasized. 

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How exactly the cockroach got into the chips is unknown, but Lachina and Simonton said that it most likely flew into the building. 

Most of the Cafe operates on a self-serve basis where food is laid out beneath heat lamps so students can choose what they’d like to eat.

Serving over 2,000 people a day, the Osprey Cafe is the primary dining hall for students living on campus and typically where students with a food plan will eat. With so many people cycling in and out of the building, sanitization is necessary.

The Osprey Cafe, often called the dining hall, is situated on the southern part of UNF’s campus, close to the dorms. (Photo courtesy of the UNF dining website)

Staff members clean all parts of the building often, everything from the tables to the kitchens, Simonton said. 

A pest control person—known as ”the bug guy,” he said—inspects the Osprey Cafe and other campus dining locations weekly to ensure they’re clear of bugs and other pests. 

“We sanitize,” Resident District Manager Joe Lachina said. “Whereas you think doors to classrooms, you think they go in between people [to clean them]? […] We’re pretty good on sanitization.”

He called the appearance of the cockroach an “isolated incident.”

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Carter Mudgett
Carter Mudgett, Reporter
Carter Mudgett is a University of North Florida student majoring in multimedia journalism. He was Spinnaker's editor-in-chief from August 2021 to December 2023. Carter led Spinnaker to be awarded a 2023 Online Pacemaker Award, and most recently placed second in the Society of Professional Journalists's Sunshine State Awards for "Best Coverage of LGBT Issues" in the college category. Backed by a passion for creative storytelling and accurate reporting, Carter typically covers education, gender and race issues.

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